Emmaus Leeds marks World Homeless Day
This World Homeless Day (10th October), Emmaus Leeds is sharing stories of formerly homeless people to highlight the rapidly growing issue across the UK.
Emmaus Leeds supports 26 formerly homeless people (companions) by giving them a home, meaningful work in a social enterprise and an opportunity to regain lost self-esteem to help rebuild their lives. Companion Andy came to Emmaus Leeds in 2014 after six years of sleeping on the streets with his sleeping bag and a piece of cardboard as a bed. Andy commented:
“The last time I was on the streets there was three foot of snow. I put some cardboard underneath my sleeping bag and stuffed cardboard inside. It was absolutely freezing. On the hour, every hour, waking up and thinking I need to move, I need to get my blood pumping.”
During his three years at Emmaus Leeds Andy has found the stability he needed to rebuild his life. He has gained training and work experience and taken part in fundraising activities to help others in greater need. Andy added:
“Emmaus Leeds was the only one that had a place at the time. I enjoy the friendships I have built at Emmaus. Once you make that first connection with Emmaus, it’s life changing. You come off the streets to a building and people you don’t even know but you make a friend, and then friends for life.”
According to the report published by Crisis this year, it is estimated that nearly 160,000 households are currently experiencing homelessness across Britain, with a predicted 76% rise within the next ten years. Emmaus Leeds provides a home and meaningful work for 26 formerly homeless people. With homelessness set to rise again over the next year, the need for this is now more important than ever.
World Homeless Day aims to draw attention to homeless people’s needs locally and provide opportunities for the community to get involved in responding to homelessness. The inaugural World Homeless Day was marked on the 10th of October 2010 and has been observed every year since.
If you have been inspired by Andy’s story and want to help, contact Emmaus Leeds to find out how you can get involved. It can be as simple as donating your unwanted furniture, old clothing or bric-a-brac, or picking up a bargain at an Emmaus shop.
All the money Emmaus raises in its shops goes directly back into the community, enabling them to continue their vital work with homeless people across Leeds.
To support Emmaus Leeds visit www.emmaus.org.uk/leeds. For more information call 0113 248 4288 or visit Emmaus Leeds at St Mary’s Street, Leeds, LS9 7DP.
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